(The Sports Xchange) – LeBron James changed shoes at halftime on Friday night. Then, he turned the game in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ favor in the second half.
James notched another triple-double and was all over the court during the Charlotte Hornets’ final possession, and the Cavs hung on to beat the Hornets 100-99.
James finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists for his 57th regular-season triple-double and second this season. He was already in double-digit points, rebounds, and assists before the fourth quarter started, but scored just six points on 3-of-8 shooting at halftime.
Then he switched out of a yellow pair of his Nike signature shoe and into a black pair.
“I just wasn’t playing well,” James said. “So, I‘m a little weird sometimes. I wasn’t playing well, up to my standards.”
He fixed that, and then some.
J.R. Smith, who contributed 16 points for the Cavs, put them ahead for good with a free throw with 48.2 seconds left, making the score 100-99.
The Hornets had the ball with 11.1 seconds left and looked to Kemba Walker, but he couldn’t get past James for a layup and gave the ball to Jeremy Lamb. Facing pressure, Lamb heaved a 3-pointer that missed. James then blocked Walker’s 3-point attempt from 38-feet away as time expired.
“It’s always rewarding (to know they can win with defense), and we had to do that, do that all the way to all the zeroes on the clock,” James said.
“We had some great looks, just couldn’t string a few together, especially in the fourth quarter, but defensively we was in tune. We had a couple calls that didn’t go our way in the fourth quarter, but we just stayed with it and it allowed us to win this game.”
The Cavs have won seven straight overall for the longest active streak in the NBA, and eight in a row over Charlotte.
Cleveland entered the game as the worst-rated team on defense in the NBA, but limited the Hornets to a season low .38.3 percent (36-of-94) shooting.
“We missed six free throws in the fourth quarter on the road in a one-point game,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “I think that is a big part of the story, obviously.”
The Hornets, who had their three-game winning streak stopped, were 16-of-27 from the foul line.